Several years ago, I enrolled in a very structued CBT group for social anxiety. The social worker who ran the group was quite experienced and really knew his stuff.
At the same time, it became readily apparent that there were actually two types of social anxiety presenting in our group of 12 people.
The first type, consisting of most of the members, experienced what might be called "classic" social anxiety: very hesitant to speak, reluctant to offer opinions, inhibited emotions. This first group was obviously extremely anxious when the group initially started, but as time passed they all began to visibly relax. I think to some degree this was due to growing familiarity and ease with fellow members, as well as working our excellent CBT program.
The second, much smaller group (which included me), was entirely opposite: we were quite friendly, warm, and engaging when the group initially began. But as the weeks passed we became more and more anxious and terrified of attending group. I became so afraid that I couldn't attend my groups' last meeting. It seemed we were more comfortable and relaxed with strangers than people we spent time with.
This is still a problem I struggle with, but current social anxiety trearment does not seem to adress this. I have no problem delivering a speech to a crowd, or mingling with a roomful of strangers I'll never see again. Why am I more afraid of being around people, the more time I'm around them? Why does increased exposure generate anxiety? Does any effective treatment exist for my condition?